I’ve often compared competitive sports to learning how to throw the knockout punch
As parents, we tend to think of sports as a recreational activity instead of a competition
We want our children to learn values like teamwork, communication, schedule following, and learning how to work hard
The irrefutable reality is, that even though those are our intentions as parents, players want a single more important emotional result, to win.
We put our trust in coaches to teach our kids as players how to fight until the very end. As parents, we forget sometimes that the guy going against our child is trying to humiliate him, trying to beat him to the ground, win. Coaches can be tough, abrasive, and loud. But what I’ve learned is that while we want our children to learn all the positive attributes of being on a team and learning to be friends, we also want them to learn how to be tough. We want them to learn how to beat the other player because that other player wants to hurt our child. Coaches are there not out of preference, but out of necessity. Coaches teach our children how to survive in a world where they are being put in a situation to be embarrassed, or rise to the occasion. I’ve had the privilege now of being a coach myself for almost 2 years. My style was more educational and supportive if I had to define it. The kids I worked with knew that I would be there for them no matter what. But especially for boys that reach the age of 15 to 17, their identity begins to be shaped by whether or not they are winning, and I’m starting to understand as a coach that aiming for that result leads to equally important values in order to prepare them for the real world